Hartley kick

It’s been a couple of days since the thriller in the Thunder Dome came to a close and I have to say if that game didn’t have your blood pumping well then you have no pulse. That game had so many twist and turns and up and downs that I personally haven’t felt that way about a Saints game since the 2011 playoff game against these same 49rs. Sure this year’s home opener against the Falcons was a game we waited all season for but at the time we really didn’t know much about this team, plus that game last Sunday had huge playoff implications  keeping the Saints undefeated in the NFC and in total control of their playoff seeding.

The Saints beat the 49rs at their own game; when you have to confront a bully you punch them in the mouth. Defensively the Saints manhandled the 49rs offense and really shut down all of their offensive weapons. Offensively Drew Brees threw for a sneaky 330+ yards and the running game was solid but they did struggle in the red zone. Despite a special teams gaff by Corey White the special teams had a real solid showing. I have been hard on Garrett Hartley because of his recent struggles but I have to give him props, he had ice in his veins all afternoon. Travaris Cadet also came up huge with an eighty-two yard kickoff return moments after the 49rs scored.

In a game like this it was tough to try to figure out what set of plays I wanted to use in the grind factor, would it be the strangulation sack on Brees? The Robert Meachem catch and run? Frank Gore dropping a game changing pass or maybe the Cadet return. The plays I settled on was when the game was tied at 20 and with the Super Dome at a fever pitch, the defense showcased just how good they are. They were not going to allow this thing to go to overtime; they were going to get the ball into Drew Brees’ hand one more time.

San Francisco has the ball 1st and 10 at their 20 yard line with 2:06 left in the ballgame

sack 1

On this play Junior Galette and Keyunta Dawson run a stunt with Dawson going to the outside while Galette hooks around to the inside. With starting LG Mike Lupati out with an injury his replacement backup RG Adam Snyder makes a huge mistake and goes with Dawson to his left.

sack 2

As you can see this leaves nothing but daylight between Galette and Colin Kaepernick but a shifty Kaepernick tries to goes right. Keyunta Dawson does a great job of beating the now double team of LT Joe Staley and LG Adam Snyder sealing off the outside, Kaepernick has nowhere to go.

sack 3

The end result, it was a perfect play call by Rob Ryan with the Dome whipped into a frenzy it resulted in a nine yard loss. Sean Payton in a brilliant move knowing that it was 2nd and 19 and they would have to pass…. calls a time out with 2:01 on the clock.

The ball is now on the eleven yard line with a 2nd and 19 coming up

Kap 1

This is just a great play by Cameron Jordan as you can see he is double teamed by RT Anthony Davis and RG Alex Boone. Junior Galette comes off the other edge and beats LT Joe Staley

kap 2

Junior, even though he is held he still flushes Kaepernick to the right. Jordan gets pass the double team and puts beeline on Kaepernick who is coming his way.

Kap on the line

This is where Jordan hammers him with his foot clearly on the goal line and he throws the ball away with nobody around. I know people were screaming for intentional grounding (and a safety) but the Refs got the call right because he was outside of the tackle box. At pre-snap the ball was on the left hash mark and where he is releasing the ball it is outside of where the right tackle lined up pre-snap, a lot of people were looking at the right hash mark but it’s irrelevant because of the pre-snap alignment.

3rd and nineteen and the roof of the Dome is coming apart at the seams

kap run 1

Even though this looks like a 3rd and long pass play, I think it a Kaepernick run play from design. Both San Francisco wide outs run fly routes straight down the field while the running back chips a block and goes into the flat. My guess is they were thinking the corner (Carr) would stay with the receiver, he didn’t, he released him to the safety.

kap run 2

Carr reads Kaepernick and when he crosses the line of scrimmage he races to cut him off with Curtis Lofton and Roman Harper not far behind.

kap run 3

The end result, if Carr doesn’t get him Lofton would have. I think Harbaugh called the run because where they were backed up at the goal line and this would be the safest way to get yards and at best they get a first down and at worst they would punt and play good defense to get it to overtime, Kaepernick was short by four yards.

Whelp that’s the Grind Factor for this week but as much as I want to keep savoring the victory it’s time for me to get my full-blown Falcons hate week going. On the shortened week it’s a tough turnaround for the players on both teams but they will be ready to play come Thursday, after all it is the Saints and Falcons. I know the Falcons have really sucked this year and with the injuries are a shell of what they were last year but you can throw everything out of the window, this will be a drag out war. I expect the Saints to pull away late for a 35 to 20 victory and do the all too familiar SWEEP of the Falcons and it will be glorious so with that, as always…..WHO DAT!!!